Live 8 Expands With Africa Calling
Peter Gabriel and Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour are the driving forces behind a Live 8 concert focusing on African musicians.Peter Gabriel and Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour are the driving forces behind a Live 8 concert focusing on African musicians. Under the banner Africa Calling, the concert will be held July 2 at the Eden Project in Cornwall, England. West African vocalist/songwriter Angelique Kidjo, Somalian vocalist Maryam Mursal and Senegalese hip-hop group Daara J are among the confirmed performers.
Other artists scheduled to appear include Mali legend Salif Keita, Thomas Mapfumo and Blacks Unlimited from Zimbabwe, Shikisha from South Africa and Tinariwen from Mali. N'Dour will also perform after appearances earlier in the day at the Paris and London Live 8 concerts.
It will coincide with the Bob Geldof-organized Live 8 concerts, which will be simultaneously held in London, Philadelphia, Paris, Berlin and Rome. Plans for an Australian concert fell through last week.
The events are intended to raise awareness of poverty in Africa ahead of the July 6-8 G8 summit of world leaders in Gleneagles, Scotland.
Until now, N'Dour was the only African artist scheduled to perform at Live 8, leading to criticism from the likes of Blur/Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn and British broadcaster Andy Kershaw. Island Records founder Chris Blackwell was also among the industry figures who highlighted the absence of African artists at the shows.
Africa Calling will aim to assuage any such concerns. "We just felt that Eden could provide a moment where those values of neighborliness and community could be made real with an intimacy larger venues would find difficult to capture," says Eden Project CEO Tim Smit.
Gabriel, the recipient of the 2004 Music Industry Trust Award, has long championed African music through his Virgin-distributed Real World label and his world music festival WOMAD.
I talked at some length with Bob [Geldof] about this," he said. "I understand his criteria of trying to keep the largest audience around the world switched on and looking at issues about Africa through the artists selling the most records."
"I would have done it a different way -- I think it's important to be seen to be allowing the voices of Africa to be heard directly," he added. "A lot of artists don't feel this is a perfect situation, but respect the aims and goals. It's a difficult enough job trying to do what they want to do."